By Jim Colombo (USA)
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
It was the first Saturday in April 1964, and a group of athletes were waiting for
Fred to open Soccer World in Campbell to sign up for the Peninsula Soccer League.
Most were college guys who wanted to continue playing soccer during the summer, and
two were older and getting curious looks from the younger athletes. One was
Milan Tarvo and the other was Bill Borg. They flanked the youngsters. Milan was
curious and approached Bill. "Hi. I'm Milan. I guess you and I will have to show these
kids how the game is played."
Bill smiled. "Hi. I'm Bill. Midfielder.
"Winger," said Milan. They shook hands. The college guys looked at the two
relics with smiles and whispered among themselves.
Bill was 5’7” and weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds, and had thick
blond hair, blue eyes and looked rugged from being outdoors. Milan was 6’1 and
weighed about one hundred and ninety pounds. He had short brown hair, large dark
brown eyes that mirrored his many moods, and stayed in shape by jogging every day.
"Where are you from, Bill?"
"Sweden, and you?"
"Yugoslavia," replied Milan.
Fred opened the door at eleven and the crowd rushed in. Milan and Bill followed.
They paid thirty dollars for insurance and filled out the application. There were two
levels of competition, advanced and intermediate. The try out would be in May and the
league would begin in June.
After sign ups Milan invited Bill for lunch. They walked to Rosita’s, a popular
Mexican restaurant in the Prune Yard and sat in redwood armchairs outside in the Rose
Garden. The round redwood tables had white tablecloths and red umbrellas. The
waitresses wore green or red fluffy petticoat skirts with loose white blouses that teased
a customer with a playful glimpse of their cleavage. Milan enjoyed admiring the ladies
while his eyes spotted, inspected, and categorized each lady as she entered his range
A cute Mexican waitress with a friendly smile greeted Milan. “Good to see you
“It’s always good to see you, Yolanda,” replied Milan with a flirtatious glint in his
smiling eyes. What is the catch of the day?”
“Grilled salmon in lime and garlic with roasted red and green bell peppers,”
Bill nodded and Milan ordered two grilled salmon and two San Miguels.
“Una cervesa fria por favor por mi amigo y aqua por favor. Gracias
senorita,” replied Bill.
“A Swede who speaks Spanish. Not bad, Bill. What other surprises do you
“None. I studied English in high school and college like you. Spanish was a
necessity when I spent a year in Mexico working for Bechtel as a civil engineer. The
pay was good and I saved money, but the disparity got to me. Everywhere I went there
were starving naked children begging for food just to survive another day in poverty. I
felt guilty after a year and quit. I came to California and got a job with the state
constructing highways. The job was okay, but something was missing, so I went to a
seminar at Stanford University about the emerging electronics industry. That was my
first exposure to printed circuit boards and I realized what was missing. I wanted to
go into business and open my own shop. I have the technical expertise, but lack the
marketing aspect and the necessary capital.”
“Are you looking for a partner?”
“I’m looking for a partner who has what I need-- money and marketing.”
“I’m the marketing director for Honeywell California. I have some money and I
plan to open a printed circuit shop by the end of summer. I’m looking for venture
“What size shop?”
“I want to get as much of the market as I can. I’ll start with an eight-tank plating
shop, six screeners, and three drilling machines. There’s a lot of work out there and I’ll
take any job.“
“That’s an aggressive plan. I’m looking at a proto shop with three plating tanks.
I’ll send my drilling and fabrication out. There’s a shop that will shoot film for screening.
I’ll just plate and image. I’m looking at small runs and getting premium pricing for three
to five day turns.”
“How can you do that efficiently?”
“I will train the platers and hire experienced screeners.”
“You and I have more in common that you realize. You have the same drive as
me to have your own business. We see the future and it’s in printed circuit boards. We
both want to catch a wave, but you’re waiting for the perfect wave. I’ll take all the waves
I can catch, and at the end of the day we’ll both have had great rides.”
“My money is limited. I have to invest wisely. I’ll get only one ride.”
“Get a good business bank like Crocker.”
“I don’t make money as quickly as you. I know who you are. You’re in marketing
making big bucks. I’m a civil engineer. It takes longer for me to save money.”
“Bill, consider me as a silent partner who you can buy out when you’re
established. I’m going to start my shop and I could use a small shop for proto orders.
This way you can run your shop, I’ll give you my proto orders, add ten percent to the
customer, and you can buy me out after three years. If you don’t make it, I’ll buy you
out and you can stay and run the shop. “
“You’re too kind. Why?”
“We like soccer and I think we’ll be good for each other. Sometimes you might
need a push and sometimes I might need a second opinion.”
“I’ll think about it, Milan.”
“You have until the end of the summer league, September first. “
“Is this one of those pushes you spoke of? I would rather take the bus and get
there, than take off like a jet and crash.”
“Bill, the guy who said he never had a chance is the guy who never took a
chance. I was an accountant for Fiat for three years. Now I have a share in an Italian
restaurant in L.A. that’s doing good, and I’ve worked hard at Honeywell to become
Director of Marketing. It’s not as easy as you think in marketing and sales. I hear no
many more times than yes, but I continue because I believe in my abilities. Do you
believe in your abilities?”
“Life looks very different at ground level on a bus compared to the view at
35,000 feet in a jet, Milan.”
Yolanda returned with their order. She leaned towards Milan as she served him
allowing a glance at the gold crucifix hanging on a gold chain above her brown breast.
“Gracias bonita,” said Milan, recalling the last time they spent an evening
“Mi gusta,” she replied with a sassy smile. She slowly poured the San Miguel
into a glass tilted at a 45-degree angle like gentle foreplay, not raising a head. Milan
watched her pour as if she were slowly undressing. Yolanda served Bill and refilled his
glass with ice water. She placed a wicker basket filled with fresh baked flour tortillas
covered with a white towel. Milan folded the towel back, and the steam and smell
escaped captivating their senses.
“Gracias, Yolanda,” said Bill
“Mi Gusta,” she replied and bowed low enough to display her femininity.
Bill’s ears turned red acknowledging her presentation. Milan laughed.
“Are you married or a virgin?”
“Neither,” replied Bill uncomfortably.
“Relax, Bill. Smell the roses. All they want is a little attention once in a while. If
you are going to be in business for yourself, you’re going to have to learn the song of
the maiden and the dance of the whore. You have to be all things to all people in
business. At the end of the day you go home, have a drink, relax, and you’re you again.
You have to give of yourself to get what you want. Just make sure you get more that
“This is one of those pushes?”“Yes. Now let’s enjoy the lunch, the scenery, and talk about soccer.